New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno on Monday categorically denied a claim by the mayor of Hoboken that Gov. Chris Christie's administration linked the release of Superstorm Sandy relief funds to the approval of a Hoboken development project favored by the governor.
Hoboken Democratic Mayor Dawn Zimmer has said Guadagno told her that Christie would withhold disaster recovery funding if Zimmer did not support a bid by the New York-based Rockefeller Group to build on several blocks in her city.
"Mayor Zimmer's version of our conversation in May of 2013 is not only false but is illogical and does not withstand scrutiny when all of the facts are examined," Guadagno said.
"Any suggestion that Sandy funds were tied to the approval of any project in New Jersey is completely false," Guadagno said at a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday service project in Union Beach, according to CNN
Zimmer recounted this weekend on MSNBC
and CNN a conversation she had with Guadagno after a political event on May 17, 2013.
According to an entry in Zimmer’s personal diary, Guadagno pulled her aside in the parking lot after a political event in Hoboken "and says I need to move ahead with the Rockefeller project. The word is you're against it and you need to move it forward or we're not going to be able to help you. I know it's not right. These things should not be connected, but they are. If you tell anyone I said that, I will deny it."
Zimmer also said that New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable told her, of the Rockefeller Group project and the Sandy relief, "If you move that forward, the money would start flowing to you."
Zimmer said she met with officials
from the U.S. Attorney's Office for several hours on Sunday at their request and provided them with her journal and other documents. She added that she was willing to testify under oath about the truth of her account.
Meanwhile, Christie's office on Monday also issued a firm denial of Zimmer's claims and characterized them as politically motivated.
"It's very clear partisan politics are at play here, as Democratic mayors with a political ax to grind come out of the woodwork and try to get their faces on television," Christie spokesman Colin Reed said, according to Fox News
Reed also blasted MSNBC for first reporting Zimmer's comments.
"MSNBC is a partisan network that has been openly hostile to Gov. Christie and almost gleeful in their efforts attacking him, even taking the unprecedented step of producing and airing a nearly three-minute attack ad against him this week," he added.
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